I'll send you funny, smart ideas weekly. Unleash the Awesome. Be creative. Be different. Normal is the new boring.

DIY : How to make a mosaic backsplash for your kitchen. It’s GORGEOUS !!

It* =  Mosaic Backsplash

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

Have you ever had an idea that hit you right between the eyes and you thought to yourself:

“I must do it*…I must do it*…..STAT.”

BANG.

Boom.

Do it.

Do you ever lay in bed at night and tell your head to just shut it with its ideas??!   Your head doesn’t listen, does it?  It just keeps on thinking, when you are trying to catch a few winks.  Bastard.  It sucks to be in our heads sometimes.   Sleep is overrated.  We have forever to be dead.  Until then, live a little and do those funky ideas!

You can put your funky ideas together … piece by piece.

Peace by piece.

Lynne Knowlton from Design the Life You Want to Live blog lynneknowlton.com

Some people really don’t know how to act their age instead of their shoe size.

As a blogger, we are saddled gifted with ideas becoming blog posts in our heads before we even do the freaking idea.

It just happens like that. You think in ‘blog posts’.

 It’s a bloggers disease bliss.   Bloggers elbow.

You think in blocks of bloggerness.

 E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g is a blog post.

Truth.  Gospel idiotic blogger truth.

Then….oh then… comes the blogstipation.  Suddenly, you have the ideas but the words won’t land on your computer keyboard.

As a blogger, you never want to waste a word.

 

Then, oh then ~ an idea that you thought would go viral, collects dust on your blogger shelf.  What a son of a bitch.  That’s not fair.  What up wit dat?

Next… An idea that you pulled out of your wahzoo becomes one of the most popular posts on your blog.   Wtf?  OMG.   I think I need a drink.

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

The mosaic backsplash was one of those ideas.  I didn’t really plan it.  I just did it.  I grabbed a crayon from the drawer one day and drew it.  I’m skilled with drawing stick men, so I figured this sketch was a no-brainer.  Somehow crayons are always in my drawers, even though all my kids stopped using them about a billion years ago.

 Everyone loved the mosaic backsplash  (including myself, surprisingly) for a very long time.

Like 10 years ~ long time.

Then I wanted to punch it in the head.

So I did.

This week, I smashed it to oblivion.  Not gonna lie, it felt pretty damn good.

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

Yup, I even convinced my daughter to HIDE it.

Before I was a blogger, I was an insane mosaic artist.  Everything I saw had the potential to become a mosaic.

 

If something wasn’t moving, I mosaic-ed it.

I became a mosaic artist.  Mosaics were in my line of sight for forever years.   Like blogging now, all I could think about at the time was mosaics.   I ate and drank mosaics like it was nobody’s business.

I even had a pink suede tool belt {insert embarrassment} for my mosaic work.

Thankfully, I didn’t have a mullet too.

I had to draw the line somewhere.

   

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

A smashing great idea !

The Mosaic Backsplash Project :

I wanted to create a backsplash with a total budget of $40.  No lie.  Forty bucks.

The whole shebang.

Big backsplash spender, huh?

 I know.  I know.

Champagne taste with a soda pop pocketbook.

Guess what ?! Now you can to do it too.

It’s epic. Give it a try!

SUPPLIES TO CREATE A MOSAIC BACKSPLASH :

 

1.   Tile : 

I went dumpster diving in the local tile shop dumpster.  Yes, I felt the need to save twelve dollars at the time. Wahhheird.  Another easy solution is to just walk into Home Depot or Lowes and buy your tile.  It’s a little less embarrassing too.  You can use any kind of tile, decorative jewellery, found objects, pebbles, river rocks….any kind of funkiness.  The sky is the limit.

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

 

2.   Tile adhesive

Tile adhesive looks like whipped cream.  Fluffy, white whipped cream.  Officially, you shouldn’t be dipping your fingers in that gnarly bucket ~ but I did.  It was easy.  My finger was already attached to my hand.  I didn’t have to go looking for that tool.

Note: It may LOOK like whipped cream, but it doesn’t taste like it.  Just sayin’.

 

3.   Hammer 

And a smashing good sense of humour.

 

4.    Safety Glasses

My hubs is Elmer the Safety Elephant when it comes to safety first. Whateves.  Let’s just pretend that I wore my ugly safety glasses.  But of course.  Dork.  I shut my eyes.  It worked.

 

5.   Bandaids ( self-explanatory)

I just told you that I skip the safety glasses, and I think that tile adhesive looks like whipped cream.  Nuff said.

 

6.   Cupcakes

You will need a sugar high to finish the job.

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

HOW TO MAKE A MOSAIC BACKSPLASH 

 

1.   Draw your pattern on the wall

This is where it gets technical.  Go find a marker. Or crayons.  Draw a SIMPLE pattern on your wall.  Remember that ceramic tile is a fairly large tile.  It is not dainty.  If you do an intricate pattern, you will go MAD.  I don’t want to do that to you.

 If it isn’t fun, don’t do it.

Remember the KISS rule =  Keep it simple stupid.

 

2.   Prepare your tile mosaic pieces 

Lay the tile face down on a soft surface (carpet mat, old  towel or cardboard box).  The front tile surface is less likely to break off or crack if you hit the backside of the tile with your hammer.  If you look in the photo below, you can see a chip in the tile.  Avoid that.  Clearly, I was dumb.  Once.

 

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

 

3.   Tile adhesive

Be careful …remember…tile adhesive looks like whipping cream.  Don’t be alarmed if you want to lick your finger.  You may be high from the scent of the adhesive and not thinking straight.

Keep calm and carry on.

You can use a technique called ‘back buttering’.  What that really means is to evenly distribute your adhesive individually on the back of each tile piece.   Just dip into the adhesive and glob some adhesive on the tile.  Not too much, not too little.  Be careful to keep your hands fairly clean as you work.  If you get excess adhesive on the front of the tile, you are going to be mad at yourself later.  Be sure to remove excess adhesive off of the front of the tile while it is still wet.

Easy – sneezy – breezy – wonderful you.

Work in small batches until you feel confident.  That could be by the year 2019.  Jokes.

 

4.  Pay attention to the edges of your pattern :

 

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

As you lay your tile into each area, be sure to follow the outer lines of your pattern/scene.   The inner pieces may be randomly placed, but you want those outer edges to be a clear outline or edge.  Be sure to do the outer edges of each section first.

 

5.  Cure for 48 hours

This will allow for strong adhesion of that tile to the wall before you get slap happy with the grout.

 

6.   Get ready for the scary part.  Evil grout. 

Grout always scares the bejesus outta me.

Mix your grout according to package directions.  Add water to the grout until it is the consistency of cake batter.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Take a sip of a very strong liquor. You will need it.

Work in small batches until you get comfy with it.  You can use a grout float to spread the grout.  I didn’t.  I stole the rubber gloves from under my sink and with a gloved hand, I dipped my hand into the grout bucket.

Spread the grout over a small manageable area of tile.  Get ready for a hot flash.  Take a deep breath.  Sip your liquor.

Let it dry for about 5 minutes or so and lightly wipe it off.  Don’t wipe it too hard.  You want that grout to set in between the cracks.  Wait for another 5 minutes and wipe again.  Repeat this process until your tile is as clean as a whistle.  A slight haze is okay.  You can buff again a little later.  Always wipe with a dry cloth or strong paper towel.  Always. Ignore the stupid box instructions that say to work with a damp sponge.  Talk about spreading the mess around with wetness.

Dry cloth method rules the roost.  Every. Single. Time.

A #DIY tutorial on how to make a mosaic backsplash by @lynneknowlton

There is a reason why that box says PAIN. Ha !

 

7.  Sanded grout 

Lay plastic on your countertop for grouting. I prefer to work with sanded grout.  Why?  Because as you wipe the grout off of your project, it will fall like sand on to the plastic. It looks like beach sand aka island bliss.   When you are done, roll up the plastic and your work is done.  Tahhh dahhh ! Kitchen goddess extraordinaire.

 

8.    Invite your friends to come and admire your brilliance.

Encourage hand clapping, high fives and pats on the back.

CONGRATULATIONS !!!

You are officially a Grout Goddess (or Grout Maverick).

 

 Celebrate !

Got a question ? Ask it….

I promise not to punch you in the head or smash anything to smithereens.   Been there.  Done that.

Mi casa es su casa.

Want to receive the blog posts directly in your email inbox ? Click here to make that happen or fill out the form below.  It’s cool.  I promise.  No ads.  No spam in a can.


A #DIY and lifestyle blog with a twist of fun and funky www.lynneknowlton.com

Click on photo for cool ideas delivered directly to you each week !

Lynne

This entry was posted in Design Your Mosaic, DIY, How to Mosaic and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

LEAVE A COMMENT. I LOVE EM!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

63 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    Love the blog…quite a witty lady, you are. (Yoda-like I am speaking–don’t know why!)
    With a mosiac project in mind, I have been hoarding broken pottery for about ten years. Not so long ago, we redid the kitchen after a house-fire (turned out to be a MAJOR blessing for our 115 year old home). Now it’s time to use those expensive scraps from all our careless dish-handling (I shudder to think of the cost…but yay for repurposing and my scary hoarding tendencies).
    With my handy-hot-husband, I’ve got most of the technical stuff handled, or at least he will, But…In your example, it seems you used different colored grout to match the colors in each design area. Is this so, and how did you achieve that awesomeness?
    Additionally…can you share any tips on using actual not-so-consistently-thick pieces of real handmade pottery instead of tile bits? I love the idea of posibly incorporating rocks, shells, handles of bowls, etc, but I worry about sharp edges and uneven depth of the mosiac bits. I have read suggestions of tumlbling the mosiac bits, or grinding the edges, Or even sanding them…but I am clueless on this. Any advice in general would be appreciated.

  2. Pam Chambers says:

    I would love ideas on ocean scenery, palm trees, beach. Mixed w/glass tiles & pebbles. (it’s a backsplash for my kitchen, it’s long but the height is only 16 inches). Thanks!

  3. Josie says:

    HI,
    I’m planning a mosaic made out of a broken mirror on a wood surface. Have you ever used any other adhesive than the one you mention in the above post? I want to use Elmer’s glue and am wondering if you think that’s a good idea.
    -Josie

    • Hello Josie,

      I definitely wouldn’t recommend Elmer’s Glue. It doesn’t have the strength or durability for this project.

      The only other glue I have used is WELDBOND. It’s fantastic for mosaic projects. What you need to keep in mind is that the wood you are gluing to will not bend or warp. Whenever the base of a project changes, that is when a mosaic fails and pops off.

      If you have a pattern, you can lay the paper pattern on the table, then put clear thick plastic over top, then add a layer of mosaic mesh.

      Glue your pieces on to the mosaic mesh with the weldbond glue. When the mosaic is complete, you can glue it on to your wood with tile adhesive or mortar and then grout.

      If it is a small indoor project with lightweight tile, you could get away with just using weld bond if the wood is definitely dry and solid. Always allow it a minimum of 2 days to cure before you grout it.

      It is tempting to grout earlier :)

      Happy Mosaic~ing !

      Lynne

  4. Shawn Waldrop says:

    Looks great! I am getting ready to redo a backsplash for a house we are selling. Never thought about the idea of a mosaic, but it might be a quick, easy, and CHEAP way to do GIT R DONE. Especially with all the tile manufacturers in the Dallas area. Broken tile paradise!

    One question: With a mosaic, how do you account for the outlets? Did you do anything differently than a normal tile backsplash? OK, that was 2 questions….

    Thanks for the info. Looking forward to the reply. Going dumpster diving now!

    - Shawn

    • Hi Shawn

      How’d the dumpster diving go?! I’m envious. The only thing I am diving into right now is a snow bank in Ontario :) It is not nearly as much fun. ha!

      Yes, with the outlets… you do the same thing as you would with a regular backsplash tile. Just tile (mosaic) around them and put your plate over top when you are done.

      Send me photos when you are done ! I’d love to see it !!

      Cheers,
      Lynne xx

  5. Dawn says:

    I remodeled my bath room and took out an old enamel tub(.HEAVY) and have decided to make it into an planter. Tto cover the rusty enamel I thought of doing a mosaic I know it’s a big job and lots of tiles, I should also mention this will be my first attempt, yes I know it’s a lot for a first timer no, I am not crazy maybe a little…… So my question, what would you suggest design wise and should. I do it on a mesh first.
    Thanks for taking the time to give some direction.
    Dawn

  6. Judy Carlisi says:

    Thanks for the encouragement! I have a very dorky plain backsplash in my redone kitchen and the tiles I found to make my mosaic are just waiting in the shed. You must try stucco is you like goop. It is like icing the vertical side of a cake. Very fun.

  7. Pingback: DIY Mosaic Projects~ How to Create a Mosaic | Design The Life You Want To Live

  8. Pingback: How to transform your kitchen from fugly to fabulous ! | Design The Life You Want To Live

  9. Hey Lynne! Thanks for the free tutorial. The mosaic is really gorgeous! we have spare tiles in the garage I may use it (breaking into pieces)….

  10. Jess says:

    Lynne, I need rule mosaic in my life in a bad way. You honestly make this task seem easier than choosing curtains. I’m going to try it. In my free time. Which may be in 2029. Though I hope it’s sooner. The wall behind my stove is screaming to be backslapped. I mean back splashed. I see a Friday night project in my near future. And, I will heed your advice and keep a drink within reach. Thank you for this lovely idea. Xxooo Jess / @busymommabee

  11. Therese says:

    Pinned and followed on pinterest! That mosaic tile job is amazing. I’d love to see what you can do with tiles like these too http://www.glasstilestore.com/shop-by-colors-now/white.html?p=2

  12. Wow that mosaic looks fabulous, well done! What a fun post too – thanks for the tutorial! I’ve got this linked to my DIY backsplashes post too today!

  13. Case Indy says:

    Your blog is so much fun. Thanks for sharing your humor and in home bravado! The mosaic tiling looks great. What a super way for homeowners to personalize their space!

    • Thanks so much for the blog *blush* compliments! I see that you are in the similar industry. It’s a great way to have some fun & pull your hair out at the same time. LOL.
      Cheers!
      Lynne

      • Case Indy says:

        Yes, in fact we have our own home remodeling blog. Do you ever accept guest articles from others? I’d be happy to send you something your readers might enjoy….though I cannot guarantee the writing would be quite as fun as yours Lynne!

  14. connie says:

    I love the mosaic….Just have to think of a spot to add one…… By the way, I found your blog while looking for hanging door ideas…. those are fabulous. Definitely a follower now…. AND just to add interest, I saw Colin and Justin shopping at the Home Sense in Burlington last year….. watching everyone watch them (and the items they were checking out) was fun in itself.

    • Connie

      You lucky hawt diggity dawg !

      You live near homesense in Burlington? Seriously, one of my fave places on earth. I could live in there. Do you think they would notice me jumping up and down on their beds?

      Colin and Justin must have been a hoot to watch in the store !!

      Ahhhh shucks, thanks for following my blog. *happy dance*.

  15. Tracie says:

    OMG Lynne, I am soooo excited! Thank you so much for this posting, well worth the wait!! I might have to have some cupcakes and strong drinks BEFORE I get started for energy, but I thank you for the inspiration…….. I’ve had awesome out-of-town visits from friends and family and over-nights with grandkids the past two weeks that have left me feeling pleasantly drained, but thanks to you I feel I’ve been rejuvenated……..You totally rock!!! Now, create or copy–that is the question ;)

    • Ha !! To the worlds most patient blog reader… Tracie ~!! … I dedicate this blog post to you !!!!!

      Bust out the cupcakes and hard liquor and create or copy. I think all ideas start from an inspiration somewhere. I don’t think it is copying… it is inspiring to get the jump start idea from somewhere. Go for it !!

      Thanks for your epic patience. xx

  16. Yetunde says:

    It looks fan-freekin-tastic!

    • Thanks Yetunde ! P.S. I am so loving your avatar photo !! I love your hair !!! Can I have it? Can I have it ? LOL. My hair is a mix of fuzz ball with straight as a stick. I look like a hobo when I don’t brush it. haha ! Kisses, Lynne

  17. lisa thomson says:

    Lynne, I hve no intention of ever making a mosaic back splash. Ever. But I read your post from start to finish and laughed o.l. Yes, out loud. You can make anything entertaining! BTW, your backsplash is gorgeous!! Thx for making me smile, as usual.

    • Thanks Lisa !!
      Too funny… it was a real challenge to write that post because I officially hated the backsplash after all that time of loving it. I had to find my happy mojo about it again. LOL. Thanks for noticing. PS. I have been sending friends to your site (they are divorcing) and they have been loving it. Thank YOU for that !! xx

  18. Kevin R says:

    I like the end result ! Look forward to mustering enough ‘courage’ to do something similar to this ! Thanks, Lynne !
    Rgds… Kevin…

    • I promise, Kevin. It is a snap to do. Hard liquor does help :).

      You wouldn’t believe how many frustrations are smashed when you hammer all that tile. Boys love to smash things with hammers, don’t they ? LOL

  19. Sandi says:

    I wait in great anticipation. Let’s plan the backsplash unveiling party — with lots of wine, cheese for you and pour moi, I will have the crackers!

    hugs xo

    • Ha Sandi !
      You better get over here next week ! It’s almost done. Wooohooo !!
      ps. All the easter mini eggs are gone. You better bring some of those for the party too. LOL. xx

  20. Rose says:

    brillant!!! And love the hat Betty…

    • Hey Ronny (aka Rose)

      I thought you would love the hat. The purple hat society LOL.

      Visiting soon? Or are you waiting for the treehouse snow to melt ?

      Big love,
      Betty (aka Lynne xx)

Add Your Comment or Go Back To Top

  • Yes. I get around.